U.S. House passes bill to remove legal protections for gray wolves

On Friday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill to remove the legal protections for gray wolves. There used to be hundreds of thousands of gray wolves roaming across North America until the increase in urban development, farmers and hunters killing and poisoning so many wolves during the 19th and 20th centuries, the animals nearly went extinct. 

“The U.S. House just passed H.R. 6784 – a bill seeking to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states with the exception of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf. In addition to stripping protections for most gray wolves from the federal endangered species list, this bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge. It was approved, 196-180, and now goes to the Senate,” the Wolf Conservation Center posted on their social media page.

The 1973 Endangered Species Act protected both the gray and the red wolves. At the time, there were less than 500 wolves in the United States. Because of the protections, the population of wolves has grown in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Researchers estimate there are 5,000 wolves in the Lower 48 states.

The Endangered Species Act  protects threatened natural species, ranging from birds, insects, trees to animals. All federal agencies must consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to make sure their actions do not jeopardize the endangered species.

The Republican controlled House voted 196 to 180, declaring the wolves have sufficiently recovered and to remove them from the Endangered Species Act thus enabling farmers and hunters to go back to their old ways of shooting, trapping and poisoning the wolves. Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wis), the bill’s chief sponsor, stated farmers are “one step closer to having the legal means to defend their livestock from gray wolves.” Livestock industry associations contend the population of wolves has recovered and it’s only “activist litigants” trying to protect the wolves.

Environmental groups and Democrats slammed the late year legislation as a last effort to push the pro-rancher agenda before the beginning of the year when Democrats take over the House of Representatives. The Fish and Wildlife Service have not taken a position on the controversy and plan to complete their review and make a recommendation in the coming months.

Brett Hartl, the government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity stated:

“This final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans’ longstanding cruelty and contempt for our wildlife. The American people overwhelmingly support the Endangered Species Act and the magnificent animals and plants it protects…”

See how your representative voted here: http://bit.ly/2zeQNMO

“Thank you, Zephyr, Alawa, and Nikai, for opening minds, rewilding hearts, and raising awareness for the importance and plight of your wild kin. These are the animals we fight for every day.”

Worth Fighting For

Meet our Ambassador wolves!Beyond being beautiful, they're powerful players in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment. Zephyr, Nikai, and Alawa serve as representatives for wild wolves and help people realize that, contrary to popular belief, wolves aren't vicious, scary creatures; they're simply wild animals that are misunderstood and play important roles in the environment. Learn more about their ecological impact: https://nywolf.org/learn/ecologyThank you, Zephyr, Alawa, and Nikai, for opening minds, rewilding hearts, and raising awareness for the importance and plight of your wild kin. These are the animals we fight for every day.#WorthFightingFor

Posted by Wolf Conservation Center on Friday, November 16, 2018

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